Friday, July 11, 2014

Oyster cooking competition at the Knysna Oyster Festival

The following night, we were back at the Exhibition grounds for this competition. Each local chef has to prepare an oyster  using his or her own recipe which also has to have some Tabasco incorporated in it. They also have another competition for the best dressed stand. Tickets were extremely good value at R165, as you could taste all the oyster dishes and some more which were prepared by the sponsor, Pick 'n Pay, who also provided canapés of yellowtail skewers and a tiny seafood melange. You were given a booklet of vouchers and exchanged them for oysters, wine and three courses (with no oysters) from Pick 'n Pay booths. John tasted all the oysters, Lynne did the other food and tasted the winning dish, which was an oyster paté wrapped in crocodile
A warm welcome from the Naval Cadets at the entrance,  where they poured us a glass of the Christina Van Loveren MCC bubbly
And then a very nice surprise, a very dear old friend, Van Loveren’s marketing manager Bonita Malherbe, here from Robertson for the show, of which they were co-sponsors
Outdoor seating for the brave
The first oyster from the chef at The Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa
More oysters coming up! From Nicholas Lancaster of Tapas and Oysters
The chef from Belvidere, Bjorn Sivertsen, with his oak smoked oyster
Another popular oyster was that from Conrad restaurant at Pezula
John’s favourite was from Pili Pili in Sedgefield, which was very fresh and, as he said, “the taste of the very fresh oyster was not overwhelmed by the additions”. Lynne enjoyed the tiny margarita!
This one came with citrus caviar and a lemon foam and was from the Simola Hotel
A tiny seafood mélange, for those of us who can't eat oysters, was very enjoyable
This was a very busy and well-enjoyed event and, we think, an extremely good way to showcase oysters and the restaurants who serve them. Perhaps the need for Tabasco on every dish did creatively limit a few of them.
Live music throughout the show
This oyster in pasta was not universally popular. The pasta was too soggy and too much tomato overwhelming the oyster were comments that we heard
Sirocco with their oyster
And then a curried oyster. Different. But a nice smile
Bramon wines from Plettenberg Bay were very busy keeping the oyster eaters' glasses full of good wine
Pick n Pay offered three courses for supper, if you had room after all those oysters.  This was a warm chilli bean soup topped with cheese and a taco. Warm, filling and it tasted good
and hamburgers as a relief from oysters
Pick n Pay also offered chocolate brownies for dessert
John talked to Lieutenant Botes of the Navy, who had brought the ship through the heads that afternoon on their stand
Lynne talked to Tamsin Snyman, who was the head judge of the  competition and one of the able organizers
Tamsin presenting the awards
Lynne with Tom Mills enjoying the festival
And the Mills family. Sue had been very busy all day working on the Belvidere stand, and was busy late into the night dismantling it.
By 9.30 most people had tasted all the oysters they needed and gathered on the lawn outside the exhibition hall to watch the World Cup Argentine vs Holland match
Or listen to some entertaining and skilled Spanish guitar music
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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